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Thread: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Question Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Hi, I'm new to the forum and have some questions regarding breastfeeding/prolonged bleeding after childbirth and herbal remedies. Let me start from the delivery. I gave birth to my son 8 1/2 weeks ago after 30+ hours of labor, and it seemed then that everything my husband and I had hoped of having a natural childbirth would not be achieved. My son, who was eight days late had his head turned wrong, and after so many hours of labor we decided that I should have potocin and an epidural because at 8 centimeters my contractions were getting further apart rather than closer together. When his head came out, the doctor said she would have to cut the cord then because it was wrapped around my son's neck, so my husband was not able to do that. Despite my concerns about breastfeeding, (I'm small chested), in the hospital my son and I were off to a great start with breastfeeding, he had a good latch, so my husband and I thought I would at least be able to successfully breastfeed. But we were wrong. After we were home things began to go wrong, my son was not having enough output, so we called the hospitals LC, who said not to worry. We also called his pediatrician's office where we got the same response from the receptionist. Needless to say, we brought our son to his first checkup when he was 9 days old and his weight went from 9 pounds at birth to 7 pounds 13 ounces. The doctor acted as though we were criminals for allowing our son to become dehydrated, and ordered him to drink 3 ounces of formula from a bottle before we could go and if he didn't she was going to admit him to get iv of fluids. My son did drink the formula and that started his supplementing and my emotional roller coaster of anger and guilt.

    He is doing fine now, getting his nurishment from formula and comfort nursing from me. I now think that I have insufficient glandular tissue, but I still wanted to try and increase my milk production because my son was seeming to want more formula every two-three weeks. I thought if I increase my milk I may not have to give him more formula. A few weeks ago I decided to try fenugreek/blessed thistle after researching it online. I immediately saw an increase in my milk but a couple days later I began to have what seemed to be my period. After a week it appeared to be over, but I still continue to spot/feel cramping. I don't nknow if it is normal but I have been bleeding everyday since I delivered. My question is, do herbal pills cause bleeding, and is it normal to bleed for so long after childbirth?

    I have had such a hard time with not being able to produce enough milk. I am the first person out of all my aunts/sisters, etc. to try to breast feed and still try after needing to supplement. I wanted to give this gift to my children but I guess I am not physically able to do so completely. I feel like such a failure sometimes, and told my grandma, who breastfeed 14 children successfully that I don't have Post partum depression, but I feel that these breastfeeding issues will make me develop it.

    Sorry for the long post, I just had to vent. Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    I have to say I can sympathize with you. I also had a long labor with complications at delivery. (Meconium and placenta was infected. Baby had to be intubated immediately after birth) I also thought everything was going great with the breastfeeding when I left the hospital. At 4 weeks post partum, we found out I was not making enough milk. (LC weighed baby before and after feeding and she gained less than 1 ounce after 15 minutes on each breast) Ped had me start supplementing and it has been going on ever since. I did develop post partum depression and I believe a big part of it was guilt over not being able to produce enough milk. I have been on Zoloft since 6 weeks post partum and it has helped tremendously. I still feel some guilt, but the depression and panic attacks are gone.
    I have taken the herbs and I am taking domperidone now also. It has helped. I definitely make several ounces more milk a day while I am taking it. I also eat oatmeal and drink root beer whenever I can. And drink water whenever I am thirsty, which is most of the time.
    I want you to know your bleeding can be normal. I had bleeding off and on for 12 weeks after delivering. I had 2 'periods' after that 6 weeks and 4 weeks apart and nothing since then. My daughter is ow 6 months old. If you do get your period, it can also cause your milk supply to diminish for a few days. I don't believe the herbs can cause your bleeding. If anything, they might keep you from menstruating.
    I have heard that Goats Rue can help women with insufficient glandular tissue. You might want to try that, but I would talk with an LC first and make sure it is safe for you.
    Don't feel guilty about your milk supply. Just do everything you can to give your child as much of your milk as you can, and that is really all any of us can do. I know how it feels and I admit I still feel guilty when I pull out the formula, but I know it is better than my child suffering nutritionally.
    Hang in there and be sure to talk to your doctor if you feel like your depression gets worse and not better. You can take some meds while you are breastfeeding and you don't want to miss out on this wonderful time in your childs life!!
    Be sure and talk with a lactation consultant if you haven't already done so. And pump, pump, pump!!!
    I hope everything works out for you.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Hi BabyBird's mom,
    I am so sorry you are feeling like a failure! Please take a look at your beautiful son right now and realize that you are NOT a failure! You grew him inside of you, delivered him and are doing everything you can to be a wonderful mom to him! He is a very lucky baby, I'm sure!

    I must ask you though, before I go any further: it sounds like you are working with an IBCLC, am I right? If so, how is that going? Would you be able to contact an LLLL in person. We all here will give you lots of support and encouragement, and the Leaders can give you information, but it would be very helpful to seek out a Leader in person, if you can!


    I'm am sorry the doctor made you feel so badly about everything. But we will try to give you the best information we can to get you back on track.

    Have you tried doing lots of skin-to-skin?
    Bathing together?
    Nipple shields?
    Breast compressions?

    Just want to know where I am starting from here!

  4. #4
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Hi,
    I know exactly how you feel. We started supplementing at 3 weeks b/c my baby's growth, which was great the 1st 2 weeks, had stopped. I live in NO, LA, and it was a very stressful time after the hurricane w/ our jobs and everything else, and I think that affected my supply. Then when the dr said to supplement, I felt even worse. My baby loved the bottle, so he never really went back to nursing except for comfort. My birth was the same-I wanted natural but developed preeclamsia at the end and had to go on bed rest and be delivered 2 1/2 weeks early w/ pitocin. Sometimes I think it's fate or God showing us that we can't control everything. Anyway, I became obsessive and depressed over it, esp since everyone in my family had nursed (sil nursed triplets!) and I couldn't. I know it's hard, but PLEASE focus on your beautiful baby. I feel like I wasted so much time worrying about the nursing issue. Now I pump and give him what I get, but he always gets some formula. It's NOT the end of the world. Remember that you're a wonderful mom and enjoy him. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    1

    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Hi, I am new here and this is my first post, but I had this issue with my ds, and it turned out I was retaining pieces of placenta. I do not want to scare you, but once they removed the remaining placenta fragments, I began producing like crazy almost immediately. Please look into this, they can diagnose thru ultrasound usually in doc's office. It is just one possibility, but can lead to infection so I wanted to mention it as something to rule out.

    That said, I am pumping for my NICU preemie (now 7 mos corrected) and struggling to maintain a supply for a baby outright refusing the breast. I know how it goes, but do hang in there... it looks like we both found the place to be.

    Good luck, Melissa

  6. #6
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    Aug 2006
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    Question Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Thanks everyone for all the encouragement. To answer your question LLLKate, I am not using nipple shields, I try to do breast compressions, but I am not sure if I am doing them right or not. I am not working with an LC or LLL in my area at the present time. This past week I stopped taking the herbal pills to see if that was the cause of my bleeding, but it is still occurring so I went to the doctor today with the hopes of finding out what is wrong. Anyway, urine and blood were taken and I was given an ultrasound.I know this sounds a little strange, but I was disappointed that they did not find any placenta fragments, because I had read that causes low milk supply, but the doc said everything looked good, except some fluids and a thin uterus lining. Doc said I have hormone imbalance that could be regulated by the pill. Does that cause a decrease in milk supply? I thought I read somewhere it did.

    I realize that I cannot fully provide nourishment for my son, he is now drinking 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours, and I let him nurse from me when he wants in between bottle feedings. He is such a big boy, I know my small breasts can never meets his demands. I have also notices that his latch is much weaker. A few nights ago, I did not give him a bottle in the middle of the night like normal, and I noticed something, he had a strong latch. His latch has gradually gotten worse over the weeks of bottle feeding. I am now trying to get him to only take my breasts in the middle of the night. Is there anyway to improve his latch after so much bottle feedings?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Oh, please don't despair! It is good news (I guess) that no fragments of placenta were found.

    Do you know what type of hormonal imbalance the doctor suggested you have? You are right to be concerned about BC. Some are definitely known to decrease supply. Do you have any other medical problems/concerns? Do you know about PCOS? Just trying to cover all bases.

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleade...rMay05p27.html

    I would strongly suggest trying to find a local Leader or IBCLC to assess your postion/latch. This can be very helpful, but nearly impossible for me to do online. Was there an IBCLC at the hospital you delivered ds? Here is how you can find a Leader in your area:

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/leaderinfo.html

    You are right in that the bottle will continually affect his latch.

    Keep in mind a few things about formula and supply. First, babies tend to drink more formula than they would BM. So, you can't always go by what ds will take in formula. Second, breast size has nothing to do with milk supply. Lots of small breasted women are successful at providing milk for their babies-even big babies! Often they have something called small storage capacity, in that the baby needs to nurse more frequently because the mom doesn't store a lot of milk. But this can also happen to large breasted women. Now, insufficient glandular tissue is a different game altogether. This is another reason why it would be helpful to see someone in person. An experienced IBCLC could diagnose that for you.

    Finally, here is a link to Dr. Jack Newman's website. This of course is not an LLL source, but Dr. Newman is on the LLLI Medical Advisory Board. He has some wonderful video of breast compression.

    http://www.thebirthden.com/Newman.html#Video%20Clips

    Let me know what you think.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    151

    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Thanks for all the helpful info LLLKate, I will be researching, and try to get in touch with the LLL soon. I did work with a Lactation consultant in the hospital, she seemed to think that at the time my sons latch was good, but I do notice that the latch is nothing like it was in the hospital. I have heard that smaller breasted women have smaller storage capacity, and that may have been partly the problem in the start, because my son would sleep so much, I would try everything to wake him the first night, but nothing worked. He did seem very sleepy the first week of his life. I have been considering trying SNS system, so that he may relearn how to latch and get rid of the bottles, at least for the time being, but part of me thinks that it is no use, because I don't know if I ever can produce more milk. I sincerely regret going to that pediatrician, she never even suggested an SNS, and I have only recently learned of them. Do you think it is too late to try an SNS?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    It is certainly not too late to try an SNS or nipple shield, for that matter. Your concern at this point would be stimulating supply. If ds would nurse from your breast with the SNS, then this would stimulate supply. If he will not nurse, then the SNS is not going to be helpful. It is helpful in stimulating a supply for a baby who will already go to the breast.

    For a baby who is not nursing as well from the breast as he his from a bottle, often a nipple shield will encourage him to nurse. I suggest this not be tried without the help of an experienced LLLL or IBCLC. Keep in mind-additional pumping after nursing with a nipple shield is very important. I can give you more info you are interested. I don't have much time tonight.

    How have things been the past few days? Any changes?

  10. #10
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    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Some questions/concerns about low milk supply/prolonged bleeding

    Things are going a little better. It's strange, but sometimes my son will not latch on correctly, and others he will. I worked on his latch a few days ago, and things are better, although he is not sucking as strongly. I have also decided to not let him have bottles at night, that way he will at least have a stronger latch at night, and get the milk out better. So far it has been working. He will wake up two or three times at night, and I used to let him nurse and then give him a bottle, but now I have condensed his feedings from the bottle in the day time, so he is having about 6 bottle a day. He is eating 5 ounces at a time from the bottle, but normally nurses from me in between feedings.

    I tried to contact some local LLL leaders, but I am not having much luck, with them returning my calls. I may call another leader that is further away and see if I could talk to someone there. As far as the bleeding goes, I stopped bleeding on saturday, and it hasn't returned. My doctor said I could get the birth control pills filled or wait and see. I told her I'd wait and see because I didn't want to take them unless it was absolutely necessary. I think I may try a SNS because my son does not refuse to breastfeed and I think he could do well on it. I stay at home with him, so giving him bottles is not a necessary thing as far as me being seperated from him.

    It's strange but people in my family always ask me if I am still breastfeeding. I guess they assume I would not continue because I have to supplement. I always feel awkward when they ask though, I guess it is because the majority of them are not breastfeeding supporters and think it is weird to begin with. Weird? I think giving my son a bottle of formula is weird, and having someone else feed him is weird. All I do know is that eventhough he is getting the majority of his nutrition from formula, every drop of breastmilk I can give to him is a gift.

    Sorry the post is long, I would have replied sooner but my computer was acting funny.

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